In this blog our dentists in Winnipeg talk about the issues wisdom teeth can cause, the benefits of having them removed, what the wisdom teeth removal procedure involves, and how the removal can make you feel better.
What are wisdom teeth?
Most people between the ages of 17 and 25, develop a third set of molars which can be a valuable asset if they grow in straight and healthy. However, these teeth often come in misaligned or impacted, and need to be removed.
Our dentists at Odyssey Dental Care can help prevent future oral health issues by removing the troublesome wisdom teeth.
What problems are caused by wisdom teeth?
If wisdom teeth start erupting in the wrong positions or your mouth doesn't have enough room for them, they can become impacted, crowded or not erupt fully. This can create oral health issues as they are impossible to clean when they stay below the gum line. If they become crowded, it makes them difficult to brush and floss properly.
They can also cause:
- Bad breath
- Infection (which leads to pain)
- Swelling in your jaw or face (potentially due to infection)
- Difficulty chewing, biting or opening your mouth
- In emergency situations: chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath
At Odyssey Dental Care, we recommend taking a preventive approach to getting your wisdom teeth removed, because molars (especially third molars) are more vulnerable to dental problems than the other teeth in your mouth.
What are the benefits of having wisdom teeth removed?
Some of the benefits of having your wisdom teeth removed include:
- Improving oral health
- Preventing infection or decay
- Preventing damage to other teeth
- Solving issues with bad breath
- Alleviating or lessening pain in your face and mouth
- Preventing the need for further dental or orthodontic work in the future
How will I feel better after having my wisdom teeth removed?
There are lots of oral health benefits to having your wisdom teeth removed, and the procedure is very common – you will be eating normally again within a few days. Having this procedure performed early can also save you from experiencing more pain due to impacted wisdom teeth or other issues.
You may also save time and money, as you might not require more time-consuming and costly dental or orthodontic work in the future, thanks to eliminating the complications wisdom teeth can bring.
What does a wisdom teeth removal procedure involve?
Step 1: Anesthetic
First, local anesthetic will be used to numb the tooth and surrounding area. If you are particularly anxious about your procedure, your dentist or surgeon may provide a sedative to help you relax, usually with an injection to the arm. General anesthetic is rarely used - only in instances where the procedure is completed in a hospital.
Step 2: Removing the Tooth
If the tooth is still under the gum, a small incision or cut will be made and a tiny piece of the bone over top of the tooth might also be removed. Your dentist or surgeon might cut the tooth into smaller parts so it’s easier to remove through the opening.
If the tooth has emerged through the gum, there will be less need for an incision. Just before the tooth is removed, you will feel some pressure as the dentist or surgeon rocks the tooth back and forth, widening the socket, before removing the tooth.
As your wisdom teeth are actually removed, you shouldn’t feel any pain as the anesthetic will have numbed the area. Let the dentist or surgeon know if this is painful for you, so they can provide more anesthetic.
Simple wisdom teeth removal procedures can take up to 20 minutes, where complex procedures will run longer.
What about recovery from wisdom teeth removal?
You should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. Dissolving stitches usually take between 7 and 10 days to dissolve, and a piece of gauze may be applied to the extraction site.
You’ll be asked to keep pressure on it by biting your jaws together for approximately an hour. This lets a blood clot form in the empty socket, which encourages the healing process. You could be prescribed antibiotics for infection.
For 24 hours after your procedure, you should avoid:
- Drinking hot liquids such as coffee or soup
- Rinsing your mouth out with liquid (which could dislodge the clot)
- Smoking or drinking alcohol (which could result in infection)
- Strenuous physical activity (which may encourage bleeding)
If you experience any problems or extreme soreness after your recovery period, schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can examine the extraction site.